Category Archives: Horticulture 101

Pot in Pot System for Plants and Trees


My horticulture teacher Dan shared with the class a way that professionals grow trees and bushes in nurseries. It’s called pot-in-pot and involves growing the tree in a plastic pot. Another slightly larger pot is sunk in the ground and the pot with the tree is put inside the larger pot.

The advantages are these:

  • Protection from the extremes of heat and cold. The soil temperature is much more moderate. The two pots fit fairly tightly so there is not much air infiltration from the top pot to the bottom.
  • Drainage – water drains out of the top pot into the bottom pot. The bottom pot has one drainage hole and I noticed that there is  space below the pot for water to drain.
  • Easy to water – the schools systems uses drip irrigation above ground which does not freeze and break. Their biggest problem are rabbits which chew on the plastic.
  • Roots have a harder time leaving the pot and establishing themselves in the surrounding soil. Some pots even have rollers so that you can turn the pot every month or so to break off any wandering roots.

I will try this system out with some of my trees and plants which are a bit invasive. Pipevine, common milkweed and paw paw all want to spread out and this system should keep them in check.

I have located a source for these pots at Hummerts, but they don’t sell them individually. The item # is 14-9702. The problem is that they don’t sell them individually and they are quite expensive. The largest Grip Lip containers cost $10 to $15 each and the cheaper liner costs a bit less. The school uses two different size pots 19″ wide x 15″ deep  and 15″ wide  x 12″ deep. I’m going to try a large-box store solution and will add it to the post later. Theoretically, I could even use a 5 gallon bucket, drill in holes in the bottom for drainage, paint it brown and use it as my in-ground pot. My instructor also mentioned that I might be able to get some old pots from a nursery that are being sent for recycling.

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Horticulture 101 – Class Notes

Here are my notes from class and things I’ve learned which might be helpful to myself and others.

Bring a backpack, #2 pencil and a hat. For labs you will have to leave the classroom so you may want to leave laptops home that day.


  • The books for this class are expensive! This class costs $392 for a four credit class.  The two required books cost $321! Amazon does have the one book cheaper at $133 and I found a prior edition from for $10. You can guess which one I bought.
  • The syllabus I was given says that “older editions will work.” That’s a good tip to remember – talk to the professor, before you buy your books and find out what his suggestions are with regards to books.
  • This article seems to indicate that the publishing industry seems to be gouging the college student these days.
  • You can also rent some textbooks these days which would be cheaper.
  • You can also look at – – for class books. Also the Mobius Catalog allows you to borrow books. also. And
  • Jan was filling in. She’s the greenhouse manager.
  • Generally they use liquid fertilizer – around a 1 to 100 ratio.
  • They use a systemic pesticide with their poinsettia – I wonder if they use that with all their plants.
  • For home use she likes long term osmocote, but says that because of the hot summers that osmocote will only last half the indicated time.


  • They use Pestraps in the greenhouses. It’s very sticky. You can buy them at Hummerts. They have different sizes.


        • They use coarse sand as a medium to propagate cuttings. They do misting to keep the plants moist since the roots haven’t formed.
        • +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

August 22 Class Below

Botany is the study of plants

Science and scientific method

Experimentation – Observation – Verification and discarding of information.

Ask a question – formulate a hypothesis – perform experiments – develop a theory/conclusion

Plant physiology – study of plant function – how they conduct materials internally

Plant morphology – study of structure and form of plant – how it changes over its life span

Plant anatomy – inner structure of plants

Plant taxonomy – classification of plants

Family – Aceraceae (capital A)
-Genus – Acer (Capital A and all Italics
species (lower case) italics
– Cultivars/varieties – regular lettering

Trees – Roots – Mulch Discussion

Most of the roots of a plant only go down 18 inches.
On a tree you want to be able to see the root flair. That’s the curve at the base.
On most trees you buy the root flair will be covered.
You need to take off the top layer of dirt so that you can see the flair/curve.

To go in and add a layer of top soil on top of tree roots will smother the roots.
The volcano of mulch around a tree prevents water from getting to the soil.
You only need an inch of mulch around a tree and plants.
You don’t need mulch around a mature tree.



BT Genes are in corn – called BT Corn
– bad for butterflies? other insects?
Apparently some corn is still being infected.

Botany is scientific study of plants
Horticulture is the science/art of cultivating and using fruits , veg’s and other plants.

10 crops that feed 80% of the world.
rice, wheat, corn,
sugar cane, soy beans, sweet potato, potatoes, barley
sorghum, beans/peas, cassava,

Don’t do mono-cultures in your gardening.
Trees and plants can get wiped out.
All the ash trees on the arch grounds are going to die because of ash borer.
They only plant one variety.
Apparently they are going to make the same mistake again in the new plans.

Here’s an article –

Sunlight + water + CO2 = energy + sugar + Oxygen

Pg 284 – Five Kingdoms
Bacteria – single cell – break stuff down.

Prefers to use the word SOIL – not dirt


9/25/2013 – lab on use of the microscope





Up to 400X to 600X magnification power.



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